“consider the source”When you are given a topic to research or you have a question you want answered, where to do go to find the information? (Internet/Google!)That’s not a wrong answer – I use Google, too! Using the Internet/Google is not a bad thing.
However, can you believe everything you see online? How many of you have seen things like this when you go online? You’ve Won; Free Xbox, Your computer is not protected, click here?
When my generation was in school and we needed to find information, we’d go to the library, ask the librarian for help, and be taken to BOOKS. By the time we were in college, we knew how to use the library on our own to find information. However, with the explosion of information on the Internet, there are waves and waves of information coming at you from everywhere.
Despite the fact that we know how large and vast the Internet is, most kids (and adults too) tend to dive right in with no thought on how to sift through all the information you’ll find. Today, I’d like to introduce you to a method you can use to help you know how to decide if the information you see is going to be of use for you.
I want you to think of evaluating your sources (both print and online) as if you were playing a game of cards. Notice that I’m spelling cards with TWO Rs! If you remember this term, you’ll be sure to use the right sources of information.
C stands for Credibility. Can anyone tell me what I mean by credibility? Ask yourself, who is the author? What authority do they have that leads you to know you can trust what they’ve written? What are his/her credentials or qualifications: schools they attended, degrees earned, work experience, etc? What organizations are they working or writing for? Example: If you have a book on brain surgery written by Dr. Smith, and you investigate his credentials only to learn his doctorate is in dentistry, would you trust what he has written about brain surgery?Why is checking the credibility of your source important? – “If the information you choose isn’t worth much, whatever you do with that information wont be worth much either. You’re work is only as credible as your sources!”How can you check an authors credibility? Look for the About Me or About this site. Google the author’s name?
The A in CARRDS stands for Accuracy.How do you think you can check for accuracy in a web site? Think about what you already know about a topic. What have you learned or read in your textbook or been taught by your teachers? Compare that to what you find on the web site. Do they match? Is it totally different information? Also look at the page to see if there are spelling or grammar mistakes. These are also signs that what you’ve found may not be the best choice.
Next up, the first R – Reliability. Can you trust what you’ve found? Does the author have a bias? What is bias – information that is one sided or slanted toward only one point of view. Bias isn’t necessarily wrong, it’s just not showing you the other side of the argument. Look for the clues – what is the mission or spin on the information you’re finding. Who put it out – affiliated organization. You’ll find bias very noticeable in issues such as: birth control, gun control, the death penalty, abortion, global warming debate, etc. But sometimes bias isn’t so easy to spot. Just know that every author has some type of agenda with their writing, doesn’t mean what they’ve written is wrong, just look for clues as to the purpose of the writing.
Relevance – is the information you’ve found useful toward your topic? Does it answer your questions? Is the topic you’ve chosen too broad or narrow? Use Keywords to help focus your searches to better help you answer your question. If your topic is too narrow, you may not find any resources. If your topic is too broad, you may find too many resources, but not necessarily ones that are of help.
Date – why do you think the date a website or book was published or last updated is important when evaluating your sources?“Last years facts can be this years old news” – new developments are made all the time, especially in science and medicine, and even historical events can be re-interpreted if new information comes to light. If there is no date on the website, or it hasn’t been updated in quite a while, it may be a site you don’t want to use.
And last, but not least!, S stands for Sources. Does the site provide a list of it’s sources? Are there links to those sources? Do the links work? Apply the CARRDS test to those sources – are they reliable?If there isn’t a list of the authors sources, you may not want to use the site.Let’s Review: What does CARRDS stand for? Just remember, you don’t have to use all of the cards to evaluate your sources. If it doesn’t meet two of the cards test you may not need to use the rest of the steps, it’s probably not a site you want to use.
Lets look at some website and use the CARRDS test to determine if they are real or fake?
Visit each site and have students determine if the site is real or fake. Ask them how they came up with their answers. If the Internet is down, I have copies of some of the site’s pages and we use them to determine.
Real or Fake?<br />Jacopo diPoggibonsi<br />http://www.umich.edu/~engtt516/index2.html<br />Dihydrogen Monoxide Research Division<br />http://www.dhmo.org/<br />The JackalopeConsipracy<br />http://www.sudftw.com/jackcon.htm<br />Drivers License Search – National Motor Vehicle License Search<br />http://www.license.shorturl.com/<br />FatFoe Eggplant Extract – Fat Blocker<br />http://www.wemarket4u.net/fatfoe/index.html<br />Save The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus<br />http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/<br />
Presentation adapted from Cathy Nelson’s Web Evaluation Slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/cnelson/web-evaluation-2015135<br />CARRDSS Web Evaluation adapted from Evaluating Sources [videorecording] 2004 Wynnewood, Pa: Schlessinger Media; Library Video Company [distributor], Series: Information Literacy and Research Series. <br />